Forgetting Fukushima, Denying Dai-ichi
By James Heddle
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But everyone is not entitled to their own facts.” – Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynahan
Fallout as Blowback
As the 5-year anniversary rolls around it’s clear to all who care to notice that the Fukushima triple meltdown nuclear disaster is still not ‘under control’ – as Prime Minister Abe claimed to the Olympic Committee in his successful bid to host the coming 2020 Games – but is still on-going, and will be far into the future.
That is to say, radioactive pollution will continue to pour into the oceanic, hemispheric and planetary environment with predictably negative, but unknown, effects on the health and DNA of all life forms in the biosphere.
There’s karmic irony here. The U.S. dropped the first atomic bombs on Japan, then used its political influence and propaganda prowess to sell the country nuclear power. Its corporations supplied the faulty reactors that melted down at Fukushima. Now, it is on the front line of receiving the fallout in the form of ongoing oceanic and atmospheric pollution carried eastward by winds and currents.
Faith-Based Nuclear Policy
Despite the obvious take-home lesson – i.e., that every nuclear facility, wherever its geographic location, constitutes a danger to the entire planet, and should be treated as such by the ‘international community’ – a New Nuclear Weapons race and a New Nuclear Power race are both currently in progress.
He began his presidency with the celebrated April 5, 2009 Prague Speech in which he stated “…clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons….” In practice Obama has embraced an ‘all of the above’ energy policy including heavy investments in new reactor construction and design development.
The recipient of an apparently aspirational Nobel Peace Prize has also committed a projected $1 trillion dollars over the coming decades to upgrading America’s nuclear weapons arsenal. https://www.revealnews.org/article/new-mexico-thrives-on-nuclear-bomb-despite-us-pledge-to-reduce-arsenal/
The program includes new ballistic missiles, a new manned bomber and a fleet of new missile-launching submarines. Termed – with no apparent sense of irony –‘the life-extension program,’ the plans clearly violate U.S. obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
In the domain of nuclear weaponry’s Siamese twin nuclear energy, there are those opinion-maker luminaries like James Hansen, James Lovelock, Stewart Brand, Bill Gates and George Monbiot who advocate for nuclear energy as a ‘carbon-free solution to climate change.’ Never mind that – as Stanford scientist Mark Jacobsen and his associates, as well as others, have conclusively shown – the entire nuclear fuel chain from mine to waste dump is more carbon intensive than wind and solar put together. Their work shows a transition to renewables is totally possible…without nuclear energy. https://thesolutionsproject.org/
The Atomic Church of the Last Gasp
Last week, alarmed at the failure of their repeated attempts to go through ‘proper channels,’ seven engineers at America’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – which President Obama himself has dubbed in 2007 ‘a moribund agency’ – filed a petition as private citizens. They stated that they have identified a long-undiscovered electrical flaw common to virtually all U.S. nuclear plants that could prevent cooling and allow a meltdown to occur. Their petition asks that the NRC mandate that plant operators either fix the problem or shut down the reactors. https://commondreams.org/views/2016/03/10/7-top-nrc-experts-break-ranks-warn-critical-danger-aging-nuke-plants
But the New Nuclearists avoid coming to terms with the risks and failures of the existing world fleet of aging, ill-designed reactors. They believe – without operational proof-of-concept – in a pie-in-the-sky, perpetually not-yet-but-soon-to-be-born generation of ‘new, small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).’ They will consume and eliminate existing nuclear waste and be so ‘inherently safe’ you can bury them in your back yard. Any day now.
The blind faith with which latter-day nuclear advocates approach the issues of human, ecological and economic risk associated with nuclear technologies, reminds one of the Melanesian millenarian movement called ‘cargo cults,’ in which indigenous tribes, following charismatic figures, built wooden aircraft replicas on mountain tops in the vain hopes – despite repeated failures – to lure down the western cargo planes loaded with commodities they saw flying overhead.
Or, if the definition of ‘insanity’ is: ‘persisting in behavior which consistently fails,’ neo-nuclearism is clearly a form of collective insanity – atomic psychosis.
Recovering from Nuclear Delusion
The 20th century ‘nuclear dream’ of global full-spectrum dominance and energy too cheap to meter has become a 21st century nightmare. It is time to wake up. As retired top U.S. energy administrator S. David Freeman puts it in a recent interview, “We have to kill nuclear power before it kills us.” [Video interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1R4jc2wlGs
The facts of the failure of the nuclear dream are there, for any who are not blinded by ideology or self-interest to see: in addition to its history of totalitarianism, incompetence and global disasters, nuclear energy deployment is plagued by public opposition, investor disinterest, consistently mounting cost and schedule over-runs and dependence on dwindling water supplies. Energy consultant Amory Lovins sees nuclear energy “dying a slow death from an overdose of market forces.” Futurist Jeremy Rifkin agrees, “From a business perspective, its dead.”
Then there’s the energy-weapons-waste connection, the real ‘nuclear triad.’ Not only are nuclear energy and weapons production joined at the hip from birth, but they share a dysfunctional excretory system – of which more below.
Nine Realities of which Nuclear Millenarians Dare Not Speak
Those who advocate for nuclear energy as a response to climate change, or for new nuclear weapons in pursuit of ‘national security,’ must ignore or deny an overwhelming burden of facts from the history and legacy of these nuclear technologies so far.
Here are just a few:
Genocidal Impacts on Indigenous Peoples
• Uranium mining and the deadly radioactive wastes left behind continue to have devastating effects on Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians. In the U.S., thousands of abandoned open pit uranium mines contaminate drinking and irrigation water and the air breathed by tribes across the Great Planes and the Four Corners Area.
• Nuclear weapons testing has done lasting genetic and environmental damage to Pacific Islanders in the Marshall Islands and Polynesia.
The Guardian lists and ranks 33 serious incidents and accidents at nuclear power stations since the first one was recorded in 1952. Of those, six happened in the US, five in Japan and three apiece in the UK and Russia. That’s an average of nearly 5 per decade. https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/mar/14/nuclear-power-plant-accidents-list-rank#data
But a report by Cornell University researchers Spencer Wheatley, Benjamin Sovacool, Didier Sornette entitled Of Disasters and Dragon Kings: A Statistical Analysis of Nuclear Power Incidents & Accidents has a database of 174 accidents worldwide since 1946.
They rate the accidents in 2013 dollars and define an accident as “an unintentional incident or event at a nuclear energy facility that led to either one death (or more) or at least $50,000 in property damage.”
In fact, the damage of the largest event (Fukushima; March, 2011) is equal to 60 percent of the total damage of all 174 accidents in our database since 1946. In dollar losses we compute a 50% chance that (i) a Fukushima event (or larger) occurs in the next 50 years, (ii) a Chernobyl event (or larger) occurs in the next 27 years and (iii) a TMI event (or larger) occurs in the next 10 years. [emphasis added]
US Nuclear Meltdowns
There have been 8 nuclear meltdowns so far in the U.S. Contrary to popular belief, the meltdown at Three Mile Island was not the worst. That dubious honor goes to the little-reported July 12, 1959 meltdown at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory located a couple of miles from the city of Simi Valley and only about 30 miles north of Los Angeles. The radioactive contamination of the surrounding communities and environment from that event have yet to be fully acknowledged or dealt with. One of the companies involved was Southern California Edison, the major owner of San Onofre.
Nuclear Weapons Incidents
As part of his research for his book on the nuclear arms race, Command and Control – Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, Eric Schlosser used the Freedom of Information Act to discover that at least 700 “significant” accidents and incidents involving 1,250 nuclear weapons were recorded between 1950 and 1968 alone. The Business Insider has a useful interactive site based on Rudolph Herzog’s A Short History of Nuclear Folly on which you can track 32 nuclear weapons accidents since 1950. https://www.businessinsider.com/list-of-broken-arrow-nuclear-accidents-2013-5
In its Status of World Nuclear Forces, the Federation of American Scientists reports the existence of
approximately 15,350 warheads as of early-2016. Of these, more than 10,000 are in the military stockpiles (the rest are awaiting dismantlement), of which almost 4,200 warheads are deployed with operational forces, of which nearly 1,800 US, Russian, British and French warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice.
Approximately 93 percent of all nuclear warheads are owned by Russia and the United States who each have roughly 4,500-4,700 warheads in their military stockpiles. https://fas.org/issues/nuclear-weapons/status-world-nuclear-forces/
Former U.S. Sec. of Defense, William J. Perry says the situation is even worse:
“Today we still have over 20 thousand real world nuclear weapons. Enough to blow up everybody on the planet several times over. Those weapons pose the immediate problem of a danger of terrorism, the immediate problem of the possibility of nuclear war.
“The antagonism between Russia and the United States has reached a point now where I believe we are on the brink of a new nuclear arms race. It breaks my heart.
“Today, the danger of a nuclear catastrophe is actually higher than it was during the cold war. Let me say that again…”
The Documented Human Death Toll From Chernobyl
In 2013, the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment was published by the New York Academy of Sciences. Its lead author was the celebrated Russian biologist Dr. Alexey Yablokov, former environmental advisor to the Russian president.
Based on some 5,000 health data, radiological surveys and scientific reports in several languages, it concludes based on records now available, 985,000 people died, mainly of cancer, as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl accident between when the accident occurred and 2004. It projects that more deaths will continue follow.
It blows away the specious claim by the International Atomic Energy Agency – whose mission is to promote nuclear energy – that the expected death toll from the Chernobyl accident will be 4,000. The book shows that the IAEA is seriously under-estimating, in the extreme, the casualties of Chernobyl – good reason to doubt its pronouncements on Fukushima. https://www.globalresearch.ca/new-book-concludes-chernobyl-death-toll-985-000-mostly-from-cancer/20908
Health Impacts on U.S. Nuclear Workers
Irradiated, a December, 2015 McClatchy investigative report by Bob Hotakainen, Lindsay Wise, Frank Matt and Samantha Ehlinger, reveals that 70 years of U.S. atomic weaponry production has so far left at least 33,480 Americans dead, with more to come. https://media.mcclatchydc.com/static/features/irradiated/
A recent study by an international team of nine researchers looked at 308,297 workers in the nuclear industry from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Of 66,632 known deaths by the end of the study, 17,957 were due to solid cancers. The authors report “the risk per unit of radiation dose for cancer among radiation workers was similar to estimates derived from studies of Japanese atomic bomb survivors.” They conclude that their results “suggest a linear increase in the rate of cancer with increasing radiation exposure.” Translation: There is no ‘safe’ dose of nuclear radiation. https://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h5359
Environmental & Biological Impacts of Nuclear Disasters
For years, evolutionary biologist Dr. Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina, has been studying the impacts of both the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters on animals and plants in the contaminated regions.
Studies published by Mousseau and Anders Møller of the Université Paris-Sud, and their collaborators detail the effects of ionizing radiation on pine trees and birds and small animals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. “When you look for these effects, you find them,” says Mousseau.
He adds that, mirroring Chernobyl results, “A growing body of empirical results from studies of birds, monkeys, butterflies, and other insects suggests that some species have been significantly impacted by the radioactive releases related to the Fukushima disaster,” Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2014-08-biological-effects-fukushima-insects-animals.html#jCp
DNA and Genetic Damage from DU weapons
U.S. wars in Former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and perhaps in other places as well, have seen the extensive use of so-called ‘depleted uranium’ ammunition -uranium armor penetrators. The super hard metal projectiles, fired from tanks and aircraft, can pierce the armor of tanks and combat vehicles, volatizing into deadly toxic particles that enter the bodies of all combatants and members of the surrounding populations. U.S. and NATO soldiers returning from the wars sicken and contaminate their loved ones. The populations forced to live in permanently contaminated former battle zones suffer chronic health problems and wide-spread genetic deformities that will be passed down through the generations.
Waste Storage From Here to Eternity
An Australian study estimates there are 390,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste in the world, and nearly 10 million cubic meters of intermediate-level waste — all of it produced from nuclear power generation. That amount is growing by approximately 10,000 tons annually. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-15/sa-nuclear-waste-dump-to-meet-‘global-need’-recommended/7167412
It is produced at every stage of the nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining and enrichment, to reactor operation and the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.
Despite over seven decades of trying, no proven location or method of keeping the waste isolated from the environment has yet been found.
According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, by the middle of 2015, 30 countries worldwide were operating 438 nuclear reactors for electricity generation and 67 new nuclear plants were under construction in 15 countries. https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics
The inevitable decommissioning of the aging world reactor fleet will create huge amounts of radioactive wastes. Once they are closed down, most of the world’s nuclear sites will require monitoring and protection for centuries. Wherever and however it is eventually stored, most of the waste will remain hazardous for hundreds of thousands of years – longer than civilization has yet existed.
I rest my case.
Neo-Nuclearists are entitled to their own opinions…but not to their own facts.
James Heddle Co-Directs EON – the Ecological Options Network. He is currently at work on a new documentary SHUTDOWN – The California-Fukushima Connection
The first round of oral arguments in the Marshall Islands lawsuits against the nuclear-armed states in the International Court of Justice are coming to a close today. Friday, 11 March (the 5th anniversary of the start of the Fukushima disaster), from 3 – 6 pm in The Hague, Netherlands, the Marshall Islands will rebut the arguments made by the United Kingdom on Wednesday, 9 March.
The Marshall Islands contends that the nuclear-armed nations are in violation of their obligation to disarm under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and customary international law. In April 2014 the Marshall Islands filed lawsuits against all nine nuclear-armed states. Regrettably, the United States, Russia, China, France, Israel and North Korea do not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ and are ignoring the cases brought against them.
Preliminary procedural arguments began on Monday 7 March in the International Court of Justice, with the Marshall Islands presenting oral arguments in its case against India. On Tuesday 8 March, the Marshall Islands presented its case against Pakistan. Unfortunately, just a few days before the scheduled hearing, Pakistan made it known to the Court that it would not participate in the oral proceedings.
On Friday, 11 March the Marshall Islands will respond to the UK.
To get a feel for the hearings watch this short video from the BBC: The Marshall Islands takes three world nuclear powers to court
The second round of arguments will begin on Monday 14 March, when the Marshall Islands will respond to India, and the UK will respond to the Marshall Islands. On Wednesday 16 March India will respond to the Marshall Islands and the Marshall Islands will respond to the UK.
The International Court of Justice is the judicial branch of the United Nations. It is the highest, most authoritative court in the world on questions of international law. While these hearings concern preliminary issues as to whether the cases are suitable for adjudication on the merits, the substance of the cases is coming up in various ways.
I am in The Hague, working with Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation to support the Marshall Islands by doing media outreach and social media. Here’s how you can learn about and follow the hearings from wherever you are.
· Sign up to receive our daily updates: https://www.wagingpeace.org/sign-up-to-get-daily-email-updates-from-the-hague/
· Read our daily updates from the hearings at https://www.pressenza.com/
· Follow me on and Rick Wayman on Twitter @JackieCabasso and @RickWayman, and retweet. We are live tweeting, using the hashtag #NuclearZero
· Like and share our Facebook posts at https://www.facebook.com/WesternStatesLegalFoundation/
· Watch the hearings for yourself. Video webcasts are being broadcast live at https://www.icj-cij.org/homepage/index.php and posted on the International Court of Justice website at: www.icj-cij.org/multimedia
· Read the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s March 2 press release at https://www.wagingpeace.org/oral-hearings-on-the-marshall-islands-nuclear-disarmament-cases-to-begin-at-the-international-court-of-justice.
· For more information about the cases see www.nuclearzero.org.
If you’re in nearby Europe, please consider coming to The Hague to support the Marshall Islands by your presence in the courtroom. Three press releases issued by the ICJ (one for each of the cases) provide the hearing schedule and admission procedures to the court. There is no advance registration procedure.
· Marshall Islands v. United Kingdom https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/160/18888.pdf
· Marshall Islands v. India https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/158/18884.pdf
· Marshall Islands v. Pakistan https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/159/18886.pdf
SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday 12 March, 4:00 pm: Humanity House, The Hague
Nuclear Weapons at the International Court of Justice
Please join us for this free public event about the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits. At this event, members of the legal team representing the Marshall Islands at the International Court of Justice will discuss the importance of the lawsuits.
o Tony de Brum (co-agent of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and former RMI Foreign Minister);
o Phon van den Biesen (co-agent of the Republic of the Marshall Islands);
o John Burroughs (Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy); and
o Laurie Ashton (Keller Rohrback LLP).
The event is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Soka Gakkai International, PAX, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, and Humanity House.
For more information click here
Western States Legal Foundation
Working for Peace & Justice in a Nuclear Free World
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
By James Heddle
EON – the Ecological Options Network
Sunset for Nuclear Power?
Does the dream of nuclear power still ‘look bright’ as one enthusiastic investment advisor gushed less than a year ago, or is it the “the dream that failed,” as the Economist asserted as far back as March of 2012?
Approaching 5 years this March 11 after the still on-going Fukushima nuclear disaster, the debate goes on, enveloped in a miasma of mis-, dis-, and conflicting information generated by industry ‘merchants of doubt,’ but rarely leavened by rational analysis of What’s Really What.
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015 by Mycle Schneider, Antony Froggatt et al went a long way toward settling the issue with just that – a data-based rational analysis. https://www.worldnuclearreport.org/-2015-.html
Its conclusion: Worldwide, despite a few troubled construction starts over budget and behind schedule, “The nuclear industry remains in decline.”
You’d never know it from the pro-nuclear happytalk and proposed subsidy and bailout bills being floated in Congress, but all around the world the global nuclear power industry is fighting for its life.
Nuclear Showdown in California
Nowhere is that battle closer to being decisively lost by the industry than in California, where the Sunshine State’s ‘last nuke standing’ – PG&E’s Diablo Canyon – faces a very uncertain future. A showdown between those who want to shut it down, and those who want to keep it going.
It is a microcosmic drama with all the elements of a movie thriller:
• A corrupt California Public Utilities Commission racked in scandals.
• A compromised Nuclear Regulatory Commission captured by nuclear interests.
• A resurgent peoples’ movement determined to shut Diablo down and responsibly manage the state’s thousands of tons of lethal radioactive waste.
• The growing vision of a nuclear-energy-free West Coast and a solartopian transition.
• A handful of atomic denialists clamoring clamoring to ‘save Diablo.’
• All this in the context of deepening climate change and the battle for decentralized, clean, renewable power.
A Diablo shutdown in California would be a shot heard in nuclear boardrooms around the world, and would continue this bellwether state’s reputation as being ‘no country for old nukes.’
A quick look at the history of California’s Nuclear Free Movement tells the tale.
Back last century, then-President Nixon predicted 1000 nuclear reactors in the US by the year 2000.
In the 60’s, PG&E announced plans to build 63 reactors every 25 miles up and down the California coast.
Thanks to informed popular resistance interventions in the courts, in the legislatures, and in the streets, that didn’t happen.
Only 10 of those planned power reactors ever got built: 1 at Humboldt Bay, 1 at Pleasanton, 1 at Santa Susana, 2 at Rancho Secco, 3 at San Onofre, and 2 at Diablo Canyon.
Today, only 2 are still in operation, those at Diablo Canyon.
From a planned 63 nuclear power plants in the 1960’s, down to 1 in 2015.
Not a bad track record for the effectiveness of informed non-violent, popular resistance…and a demonstration of the non-viability of nuclear energy – vulnerable as it is to public opposition, industry incompetence, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and what renowned energy expert Amory Lovins long ago called ‘a terminal overdose of market forces.’
The shutdown of San Onofre in 2013 was hailed as ‘a seismic event’ for the nuclear industry.
The man who said that was in a position to know whereof he spoke, because he had once been an executive in that very industry AND had played an important part as a consultant to Friends of the Earth in helping to get San Onofre shut down.
That would be Arnie Gundersen. His partner Maggie Gundersen, founded and is president of Fairewinds Energy Education, for which Arnie serves as Chief Nuclear Engineer. https://www.fairewinds.org/
The Fairewinds organization has emerged as a major player in informing the public about the risks of nuclear power and the real potential of what lifelong No Nukes campaigner Harvey Wasserman calls a solartopian transition to a renewable energy economy. https://solartopia.org/ https://www.nukefree.org/
Since the San Onofre shutdown, and with a renewed sense of risk triggered by being on the frontline of Fukushima fallout, a resurgent Nuclear Free California movement has turned its attention to Diablo Canyon. There, two aging, embrittled reactors sited over 13 (count em) intersecting earthquake faults, in a seismically active state, in a tsunami zone (just like Fukushima), are being operated by a company under state investigation and federal indictment for safety negligence.
Back in 1981, history’s most massive non-violent blockade to that date, with thousands participating, occurred at Diablo in a valiant-but-futile attempt to prevent the plant’s start-up.
Today, the operating licenses for the plant’s two remaining reactors are set to expire in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Now, with its age, precarious location, serious environmental impacts, massive killing of marine life, public safety risks, PG&E negligence, seismic and tsunami vulnerabilities, lax regulatory oversight, economic viability and energy contribution all being called into question, pressure is building for shutdown of the plant’s two remaining reactors.
2015 began with a regional conference organized by a state-wide coalition and hosted by Mothers for Peace in the plant’s home county, San Luis Obispo, aimed at mobilizing public awareness and local, regional and national pressure for closure.
Gundersens and Wasserman both closed the year with well-attended speaking tours designed to encourage informed opposition to the plant’s continued operation.
PG&E officials themselves are on record as being unsure whether or not the beleaguered utility – ‘with a lot on its plate right now’ – will seek extension of the licenses.
However, John Geesman of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility reports that information obtained through legal discovery by his organization indicates that PG&E spent $9 million in 2015 and intends to spend $15 million in 2016 working toward relicensing.
California’s Lt. Governor, Gavin Newsom – a former San Francisco mayor who chairs the state’s Land Commission, and is already running for Governor in 2018 – recently opined that “I just don’t see that this plant is going to survive beyond 2024, 2025. I just don’t see that.… And there is a compelling argument as to why it shouldn’t.”
Nuclear Denialists Panic
That may be why, in what looks like the plant’s eleventh hour, self-styled ‘environmentalist’ and hyper-technophile Michael Shallenberger has founded the SaveDiabloCoallition https://www.savediablocanyon.org/ and launched a campaign claiming that (not even a Colbert could make this up) a Diablo shutdown would lead to an ‘environmental disaster.’
Charging that public fears of nuclear risks – based on incontrovertible evidence and undeniable past experience – are ‘overblown’ and ‘irrational,’ Shallenberger, with surprising media attention, has become a new mouthpiece for the view that, because of its ‘low’ carbon emissions, nuclear power is a ‘clean’ source of energy and therefore a major solution to climate change.
That was a view promoted at the recent CoP21 Paris climate talks by such luminaries as James Hansen. With no great result it turns out. The Ecologist reports: https://www.worldnuclearreport.org/The-Ecologist-UK-Nuclear-renaissance-Failing-industry-is-running-flat-out-to.html
The nuclear power industry’s malaise was all too evident at the COP21 UN climate change conference in Paris in December. Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd noted:
“It was entirely predictable that the nuclear industry achieved precisely nothing at the recent Paris COP21 talks and in the subsequent international agreement. …
“Analysis of the submissions of the 196 governments that signed up to the Paris agreement, demonstrating their own individual schemes on how to reduce national carbon emissions, show that nearly all of them exclude nuclear power.
“The future is likely to repeat the experience of 2015 when 10 new reactors came into operation worldwide but 8 shut down. So as things stand, the industry is essentially running to stand still.”
In any case, Hansen & friends are in error. See: “Mark Jacobson to James Hansen: Nukes Are Not Needed to Solve World’s Climate Crisis” https://ecowatch.com/2016/01/04/mark-jacobson-james-hansen/
And “The World Can Transition to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy” https://thesolutionsproject.org/
Comparisons are Odious…and Misleading
The contention that nuclear energy is ‘carbon free’ is a piece of dis-information. Yes, relative to those of coal, oil, and gas, the total carbon emissions from the nuclear fuel chain is lowER. But, by no stretch of the data, are they zero.
When you add together all the fossil fuel-dependent earth-moving machines, transportation, milling and processing operations, security and grappling with transporting and storing tons of radioactive waste lethal for thousands of years, it becomes clear how big the actual carbon footprint of the nuclear energy industry really is.
But, not only does the nuclear fuel chain emit carbon at every stage, it also emits DNA and public health destroying radioactive pollution.
Every day, ‘routine emissions’ from every nuclear reactor in the world contaminate the surrounding environment and population with radiological pollution. It’s all about our genetic heritage, you see.
Like denialist counterparts in the asbestos, tobacco, oil and GMO industries, Shallenberger and his coalition colleagues poopoo the risks of their product. But they think the sky will fall if Diablo is shutdown.
“Last week,“reports Mother Jones’ Tim McDonnell https://m.motherjones.com/environment/2016/02/diablo-canyon-nuclear-plant-climate-change
“in an effort to ensure that Diablo Canyon isn’t shut down in the near future, this new coalition sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown (D); the CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility that owns the plant; and five state regulatory officials. The letter warned that “closing Diablo Canyon would make it far harder to meet the state’s climate goals.” The 61 signatories include Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, climate scientists James Hansen of Columbia University and Kerry Emanuel of MIT, and the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker.
According to Shellenberger’s research, the MJ story goes on, https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2703039-Diablo-v11.html
Diablo Canyon currently produces twice as much power as all the state’s solar panels (California is the nation’s No. 1 solar state). Closing it, he said, would not only shave off one-fifth of the state’s zero-carbon energy, but potentially increase the state’s emissions by an amount equivalent to putting 2 million cars on the road per year. That’s because the power gap left by the plant’s closure would likely be filled by new natural gas plants—which is what happened when San Onofre was shuttered.
“What’s powerful about Diablo is the sheer size of it,” he said. “If you flip it [off], carbon emissions go up so much.”
That’s where the Porter Ranch gas leak and a little investigative background history come in.
Methane, Radon and a Missed Opportunity
You may have noticed that utilities are not all that happy about the advent of what futurist and international business consultant Jeremy Rifkin describes as ‘a new energy regime’ which is ‘decentralized, distributive and collaborative’ (and democratically managed in the public interest), because it threatens their investor-owned, centralized business model.
That’s why utilities around the country are fighting so hard to make rooftop solar and net-metering prohibitively expensive.
The California Energy Commission’s own data have shown for years that the state has a 40% surplus energy capacity. The piddling amount supplied by Diablo – Shallenberger says 8%%, others calculate 6% – could easily be made up by conservation, efficiency and the state’s huge untapped solar and geothermal energy potential in Imperial County, which the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has identified as one of the richest sources in the nation.
But when San Onofre shut down, where did the decision-makers turn for making up the difference? Not conservation, efficiency and renewables, but gas.
That’s where the Porter Ranch gas leak comes in.
Termed by famed whistleblower Erin Brockovith ‘The worst environmental disaster since the Gulf Oil Spill,” the world knows by now that the still-ongoing leak emits hundreds of tons of the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere every day – according to the California Air Resources Board, the equivalent of “more than 1,411,851 cars.”
According to an on-going investigation by San Diego-based attorneys Mike Aguirre and Mia Severson, the post-San Onofre decision to switch to gas and therefore reliance on use and expansion of the Porter Ranch gas storage facility rather than available renewable sources was made behind the scenes in secret meetings by government officials.
According to a letter sent Feb. 8, 2016 by the attorneys to Mike Gatto, Chairperson of the State Utilities and Commerce Committee, the trail of responsibility for the decision leading to the Porter Ranch disaster leads all the way to Governor Jerry Brown. https://www.planetarianperspectives.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Letter-to-Chairperson-Gatto-2-8-16-signed.pdf
That’s where the post-San Onofre uptick in carbon emissions came from that Shallenberger and company are so worried about.
But here’s the kicker: according to recent reports, the leak not only contains the greenhouse gas methane and many other toxic compounds that have made hundreds sick and forced the evacuation of thousands. It also contains the radioactive gas radon. https://nuclearhotseat.com/2016/01/13/nuclear-hotseat-238-special-porter-ranchradon-radiation-risk-kevin-kamps-cindy-folkers-richard-mathews-terry-lodge/
What Goes Around, Comes Around
Dependent on off-site power sources for its over-crowded waste storage pools, crammed with more accumulated waste in dry storage canisters (despite 7 decades of trying, there is still no federal radwaste repository on the horizon) every nuclear power plant is a time bomb in place awaiting a desperate, ruthless, tech- savvy terrorist. And, as Chernobyl and Fukushima amply demonstrate, every local nuclear disaster is a global nuclear catastrophe as well.
So, since we are all downwinders now, and the ‘save Diablo’ denialists’ hysteria to the contrary notwithstanding…Why Decommission Diablo? Let us count the whys:
Diablo’s Dirty Baker’s Dozen
• It has two aging reactors in a tsunami zone, just like Fukushima
• It’s located over a network of 13 active earthquake faults
• It’s out of compliance with fire regulations
• It’s out of compliance with seismic regulations
• It’s out of compliance with California’s Once-Through Cooling law
• It destroys sea life
• It releases toxic emissions in daily operation
• It’s a proven health risk to the surrounding population
• It has no emergency evacuation plan for the surrounding population
• A senior NRC inspector recently said ‘shut it down’ until seismic safety is assessed and was overruled
• It’s totally vulnerable to physical and cybernetic terrorist attacks
• Its energy output is not needed
• It is run by a company that punishes whistleblowers and is under indictment and investigation for safety abuses and corrupt practices.
Once a powerful citizens’ movement opposed Diablo’s start-up.
Now a resurgent movement of citizens is saying ‘Shut It Down’ and calling for a nuclear energy free West Coast.
A Nation of Downwinders
Fallout from Chernobyl registered throughout the northern hemisphere. Fallout from the still-on-going Fukushima nuclear disaster was detected across the United States and into eastern Europe. Radioactive contamination of the Pacific continues inching toward our shores.
Prevailing winds off the Pacific blow inland – south and southwest. Simulations of fallout from a Diablo disaster show Santa Barbara and L.A. both being in the potential path. Drifting east, fallout from a nuclear disaster in CA would first take out the central valley, a major food source for the world, then continue on cross-country in unpredictable swirls and pockets. We would literally become a country of downwinders.
The Real Implications of a Diablo Shutdown
On the other hand, a Diablo shutdown and the demise of nuclear power in California:
Would represent a double win for democratic choice and enlightened energy policy
Would be a victory and vindication for a non-violent movement that has persisted for over half a century
Would be one more stake in the heart of an international dinosaur industry thrashing about in its death throes and taking desperate measures to survive.
Would free up resources for, and stimulate a policy shift toward helping California again lead the way in a solartopian transition to a renewable energy future.
Because of CA’s image as an early adaptor bellwether state, policy-makers, legislators and investors around the country and the world take notice.
And, with more and more shutdowns of aging reactors around the country being announced each month, it would help speed the day – listen for the approaching hoofbeats – of decommissioning coming soon to a reactor near you.
Worldwide, as Dr. Jim Green observes in the recent Ecologist article, “…with over 200 reactor shut-downs due by 2040, the industry will have to run very hard indeed just to stay put.”
James Heddle is currently at work on a documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection. https://www.shutdowndoc.tv/
He co-directs EON – The Ecological Options Network with his partner Mary Beth Brangan. EON3.net. https://eon3.net/ EON’s YouTube Channel is here : https://www.youtube.com/user/eon3/videos He can be reached at mailto:Jim@eon3.net .
by James Heddle
“There comes a time in human affairs when we must seize the bull by the tail and stare the situation squarely in the face.” – W.C. Fields
“Consciousness is suffering.” – Gautama Buddha
“Don’t Worry Be Happy.” – Meher Baba & Bobby McFerrin
“Hope is not something you have. Its something you do. Hope is a verb.” – Joanna Macy
Not a Pretty Picture:
The Nuclear Energy/Weapons/Waste/War/Winter Perplex and Climate Change
Right when the situation looked really dire…it just got worse.
With 2015 the hottest year on record, climate chaos is upon us with a vengeance, Paris agreements to the contrary notwithstanding.
Rumors of an impending WW III abound. There’s a New Nuclear Arms Race taking shape, and a New Nuclear Reactor Race is currently in play, too.
The Madness is Mounting
The last week of headlines tells the story.
- • Obama is funding new ‘high tech’ reactor research
• The Senate is considering S.2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Bill that would mandate and subsidize development of new nuclear reactor designs
• China is funding floating reactor development
• Japan is exploring nuclear waste tunnels in a seismically active seabed
• Hackable reactors in 20 countries are vulnerable to cyber-attack-caused meltdowns
• A massive gas leak in LA has been found to include radioactive radon, with other faulty natural gas storage facilities at risk across the country
• Fukushima contamination of the Pacific continues with no end in sight
• Japan’s Abe government is pushing to restart idled reactors despite massive opposition
• Two have been restarted so far in this seismicly challenged, volcano-ridden country
• One of them is using highly toxic plutonium mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel
• Armed plutonium shipments are criss-crossing the high seas
• U.S. utilities are fighting to economically penalize rooftop solar
• Nuclear enthusiasts are clamoring to extend the operation of California’s last, aging nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon – located on 13 intersecting earthquake faults in a tsunami zone
• Nuclear war threats loom, and the Atomic Clock is still ticking at 3 minutes to midnight.
What could possibly go wronx#%…?
Of course, you’d never know any of this if your mind is mesmerized by the Daily Distractions of America’s main stream electoral telenovela.
Watching ‘Debates’ While Rome Burns
None of the media-recognized, two-party presidential contenders will touch this triad of over-riding existential threats to our society – nuclear risks, war as a business model, and climate chaos – with a ten-foot pole.
Not to mention: America’s rigged voting system, its entrenched corporate Deep State, permanent war economy, and total surveillance system.
Or the transnational corporate mergers consolidating control of the global food and medicine supply.
Or the roll-out of secret, super-national ‘trade agreements’ that trump democracy, national sovereignty, international laws, human rights and environmental protection.
Or privately-funded, planet-wide,unauthorized toxic telecommunication, weather warfare, and geoengineering schemes perpetrated by militaries, corporations, hubristic billionaires, and unelected elites.
Being aware of all this makes it very difficult to take seriously encouraging, happy talk, upbeat calls for ‘getting engaged in positive change.’
So, what is to be done? That is the question.
Anybody have any ideas? Or is optimism in the face of converging catastrophes just denial in hope’s clothing?
People often ask us, ‘Knowing what you know, what keeps you going?” Our answer is ‘stocacity.’ That’s a fundamental property of the universe – revealed by leading edge physics, evolutionary biology and systems theory – also known as ‘stocasticity,’ ‘unpredictability,’ or simply ‘surprise.’
As world systems analyst Immanuel Wallerstein reminds us, when a system is in ‘fibrillation,’ ‘very far from equilibrium’ – as our world system is today – small impacts and interventions can have much more powerful effect than when the ‘status quo’ is firm and stable.
Yes, we face more serious planet-wide existential threats than ever before in recorded history. At the same time, (as Paul Hawken reminded us as far back as 2007)there have never been so many people active, at so many levels, on so many issues worldwide as at this moment in time.
At the emergent, quantum-foamy bottom of evolutionary emergence, apparent trends are not determinative of ultimate outcomes, and all predictions and expectations – whether ‘negative’ or ‘positive’ from a self-centered human point of view – are radically subject to uncertainty. Cynical certainty is enervating and debilitating. Activity is energizing, enlivening and enjoyable, even if, ultimately, it may prove futile. No way to know.
And anyway, as any good martial arts instructor will tell you, the fetal position with thumb-in-mouth is not an effective defense posture.
Hope as a Verb
So, I want to draw your attention to three people who have taken W.C. Field’s sage advice quoted above…and lived to tell the tale (no pun intended).
Jill Who? Yes, Griselda, there IS a Green Party candidate for President.
Not only is she running, but she has a rationally thought-out platform that – according to at least one commentator (and this writer) – makes even more sense than Bernie’s.
That would be Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a medical doctor with a diagnosis and treatment plan for a very sick republic.
Having covered her campaign in the 2012 election in Ohio, we can attest that this lady is smart, strong, articulate and serious.
Unlike any of the anointed, media-certified Republican or Democratic candidates, she has ‘stared the situation squarely in the face’ and addressed our three prime existential threats: nuclearism, the permanent war economy and climate chaos with viable responses. As David Swanson reports from his recent interview with her:
“Cutting the military budget is something that we can do right now,” Stein told me, “but we want to be clear that we are putting an end to wars for oil – period. And that is part of our core policy of a Green New Deal which creates an emergency program, establishing twenty million living wage jobs, full-time jobs, to green the economy, our energy, food, and transportation systems, building critical infrastructure, restoring ecosystems, etc. This is an emergency program that will get to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. So this is a war-time-level mobilization in order to completely detoxify our energy system, and that means both nuclear and fossil fuel. In doing that, we deprive the empire of this major justification for wars and bases all around the world. So we want to be clear that that emphasis is gone, and goading the American public into war so as to feed our fossil fuel energy system – that ends and makes all the more essential and possible the major cutting of the military budget.”
Which 50 percent of the military would Stein cut? Two places she named that she would start with (there would have to be much more) are foreign bases (she’d close them) and the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Would she unilaterally scrap U.S. nukes? I asked.
“We don’t even need to do it unilaterally,” Stein said, “because the Russians have been begging to revive the process of nuclear disarmament, which the U.S., in its wisdom, undercut. … The Russians have been persistently trying to restore those nuclear talks for the purpose of disarmament. And that would be step one – is to make major reductions between the U.S. and Russia and then to convene a world forum to put an end to nuclear weapons altogether.”
Stein also advocates canceling the student debt, single-payer health care for all and ending the arms trade and the permanent war economy.
Beyond the ‘Deep State’
Mike Lofgren was a former Congressional staffer for current Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich. Now a NY Times bestselling author, Lofgren draws on his years of experience and observations as a Beltway insider for his latest opus, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government.
Lofgren pulls no punches in describing in documented detail the entrenched rule of “…a hybrid association of key elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States with only limited reference to the consent of the governed as normally expressed through elections.”
According to Lofgren,
“The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism and the militarization of foreign policy, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure that has given us the most unequal society in almost a century, and the political dysfunction that has paralyzed day-to-day governance.”
He validates on the basis of his experience the conclusions of a recent study of three decades of data by liberal mainstream political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton, and Benjamin Page of Northwestern, which found that the U.S. political system has become “an oligarchy,” where wealthy elites and their corporations “rule,” regardless of which party is in Congress and the White House.
“The central point that emerges from our research,” Gilens and Page wrote, “is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
Having spent nearly 300 pages analyzing the various aspects and manifestations of Deep State functioning, Lofgren ends by reminding us that change happened even back in the day of the post-civil war Robber Barons, when the foundations of ‘corporate personhood’ were laid. A handful of millionaires like John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and their banking cronies ruled and “striking workers were routinely massacred by corporate security guards,” much like police murder urban African Americans today.
“Yet somehow, by dint of sustained agitation by prairie populists and urban progressives alike, conditions began to change. Congress passed the Sherman and Clayton antitrust measures and pure food and drug laws: states began to regulate the conditions of labor; child labor laws were gradually abolished; some states granted their citizens the power of initiative, referendum and recall. Women finally received the vote. A couple of decades later, the New Deal Completed the agenda with wage and hour laws, collective bargaining rights, banking reform, old age and disability insurance, and several other innovations – and this occurred during the biggest global economic catastrophe of the modern age.
“Our forebears have shown that reforming the American political system, while likely to be difficult and protracted (it may take decades to accomplish) is not impossible.”
He points out that history is always a product of “circumstance, chance and human action.”
Although we may not have decades to work with – given the immanent threats of nuclear catastrophes, annihilation and climate chaos, Lofgren offers a list of recommendations to be pursued:
1. Eliminate private money from public election.
2. Sensibly redeploy and downsize the military and intelligence complex.
3. Stay out of the Middle East.
4. Redirect the peace dividend to domestic infrastructure improvement.
5. Start enforcing our antitrust laws again.
6. Reform tax policy.
7. Reform immigration policy.
8. Adopt a single-payer health care system.
9. Abolish corporation’s personhood status, or else treat them exactly like persons.
But, given the virtual black-out of relevant news and the public’s general aversion to ‘depressing’ information and ‘downer’ stories, how are any of Jill Stein’s or Mike Lofgren’s visions likely to be achieved?
Active Hope – Aspiration in Action
‘Active Hope,’ is the title of a new book by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone. In it, they eschew feel good denial, cynical disengagement and baseless optimism.
“In our culture,” says Macy in a recent video, “I believe there is much too much value put on optimism. It can actually encourage a kind of mental sloppiness: ‘Oh, I’m really optimistic!’ But we say this as if it is a form of personal failing to actually look and say ‘I’m pessimistic. It really doesn’t look good, does it?’
“This is a problem largely unique to America. And our brothers and sisters in Europe roll their eyes when we say we’re feeling that way. We inherited that from ‘This country’s based on hope and manifest destiny, and a successful person is ready with all the answers, brimming with grins and optimism…’ even when it’s asinine.
“Hope is not something you have. It’s something you do. Hope is a verb. That means there is something you can do, even when you’re depressed. It’s something that arises out of your caring for the world.”
But, as Macy and Johnstone wisely acknowledge, there are no comforting certainties involved in opting to work for change with ‘active hope:’
“…there are no guarantees that we’ll be able to turn things far or fast enough to safeguard our civilization, or indeed, to ensure the continued existence of conscious life on Earth. We will probably not know in our lifetimes whether we are serving as deathbed attendants to a dying world or as midwives to the next stage of human evolution.”
Take home message:
Forget meditating in a cave, following the latest Great Leader or uber-guru, or wearing a hair shirt. Activism for nuclear abolition, peace, social, economic and environmental justice is the current era’s main spiritual path.
So seize the bull by the tail, choose your issue and intervention point, and remember, “Stochacity Happens.”
James Heddle is currently at work on a documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection. He co-directs EON – The Ecological Options Network with his partner Mary Beth Brangan. EON3.net. EON’s Youtube Channel is here.
Former U.S. Sec. of Defense, William J. Perry: “Today we still have over 20 thousand real world nuclear weapons. Enough to blow up everybody on the planet several times over.
Those weapons pose the immediate problem of a danger of terrorism, the immediate problem of the possibility of nuclear war.
“The antagonism between Russia and the United States has reached a point now where I believe we are on the brink of a new nuclear arms race. It breaks my heart.
“Today, the danger of a nuclear catastrophe is actually higher than it was during the cold war. Let me say that again…”
An original Silicon Valley entrepeneur, he advanced spy technology, was former Defense Secretary, but now is a leading Nuclear Abolitionist –
What does Bill Perry know that we don’t…
…and NEED TO?
Little did mild-mannered, hi-tech electronics entrepreneur Bill Perry know when he accepted a call from Washington, DC in 1962 that he would be involved in the most potentially catastrophic nuclear stand-off period in history.
That is, up until to this even higher risk present moment.
Though now eighty-six, Perry is a man with fire in his belly, and a drive to warn the world about what he knows as he travels the remaining ‘miles before he sleeps.’
He has been a defense establishment insider for most of his life., yet when most people would be relaxing into their ‘sunset years,’ Former Defense Secretary Bill Perry has teamed up with other senior statesmen of similar stature, Sam Nunn, George Schultz, and Henry Kissinger to mount a public nuclear consciousness-raising campaign aimed especially at the generation that will have to deal with the legacy of the Atomic Age in which each played major roles. Perry also laments the current amnesia about the nuclear threat by the general public – and therefore the lack of action.
“…Our chief peril is that the poised nuclear doom, much of it hidden beneath the seas and in remote badlands, is too far out of the global public consciousness.” (My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, William J. Perry)
In this succinct talk at a bookstore in Northern California, as part of his tireless current book tour, he lays out the key points his ‘journey on the nuclear brink,’ and shares what he knows must be done for our society to back away from the present nuclear brink.
Here’s where to find out more: WJPerryProject.
by Richard Falk, David Krieger – Robert Laney
“We are appalled that none of the candidates running for the highest office in the land has yet put forward any plans or strategy to end current threats of nuclear annihilation, none has challenged the planned expenditure of $1 trillion to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and none has made a point of the U.S. being in breach of its nuclear disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In the presidential debates it has been a non-issue, which scandalizes the candidates for not raising the issue in their many public speeches and the media for not challenging them for failing to do so. As a society, we are out of touch with the most frightening, yet after decades still dangerously mishandled, challenge to the future of humanity.”
No Danger of Nuclear War? The Pentagon’s Plan to Blow up the Planet
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
“Publicly available military documents confirm that nuclear war is still on the drawing board of the Pentagon.
Compared to the 1950s, however, today’s nuclear weapons are far more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for a first strike pre-emptive nuclear attack.
Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books.”
by Jeffrey St. Clair
“There are currently 460 or so operating nukes, some chugging along far past their expiration dates, coughing up 10 percent of global energy demands. Teller’s green disciples want to see nuclear power’s total share swell to 50 percent, which would mean the construction of roughly 2100 new atomic water-boilers from Mogadishu to Kathmandu. What are the odds of all of those cranking up without a hitch?
Meanwhile, back at Fukushima, unnoticed by the global press corps, the first blood cancers (Myelogenous leukemia) linked to radiation exposure are being detected in children and cleanup workers. And off the coast of Oregon and California every Bluefin tuna caught in the last year has tested positive for radioactive Cesium 137 from the Fukushima meltdown. The era of eco-radiation has arrived. Don’t worry. It only has a half-life of 30.7 years.”
Ukraine on the brink of a nuclear disaster; Ukrainian saboteurs nearly caused another Fukushima
In Экспресс Газета, December 15, 2015
Translated from Russian by Tom Winter, December 25, 2015
“Few gave noted the fact that cutting the power lines to de-energize Crimea nearly led to fatal consequences at the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant, which is located in the Mykolaiv region, – an accident on a Chernobyl scale. A miracle saved us all: workers at the station succeeded in a few hours to restore the electricity to the security system. [Nuclear power plants produce electricity, but they need a constant supply of it to avoid meltdown, as in Fukushima, for instance — tr.]”
The air force stripped the three airmen of their nuclear certification following the incident in 2014 and quietly launched an accident investigation
For more on this issue:
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety Paperback – August 26, 2014
by Eric Schlosser – A myth-shattering exposé of America’s nuclear weapons
“…He sees the decline of interest in the nuclear issue as a matter of high urgency.
“This is the scary thing for me,” he says. “The people for whom this is still a threat, the people who are most anti-nuclear, the people who are most afraid about this, are the ones who know most about it.”
And yet, the pool of knowledge possessed by that elite group of weapons designers and scientists is fast drying up. “It’s very disturbing that the number of people who have seen a nuclear weapon detonate is dwindling. Half the American population was not yet born or were young children when the Soviet Union disappeared. The most anti-nuclear people in the US today are 75, 80 years old.”
Without their expertise to keep us alert, Schlosser fears, the world will be allowed to slide into a form of collective madness founded on denial, a death wish that sees nuclear weapons as no longer a problem. Though both the US and Soviet Union have reduced their stockpiles dramatically, the US today still has 4,650 nuclear weapons, Russia about 3,500, China and France about 400 each and the UK 150. Should just one of those warheads go off, through an accident, or through systems infiltration by a hacker, the consequences would be unthinkable.”
Eric Schlosser on the Secret History of America’s Nuclear Arsenal
In a new book, the ‘Fast Food Nation’ author investigates the many near-misses that could have caused catastrophes
By Ryan Devereaux September 16, 2013
Read more: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/q-a-eric-schlosser-on-the-secret-history-of-americas-nuclear-arsenal-20130916#ixzz3yJR4kP2N
…Snapshots of the Resurgent Movement for a Nuclear Free California
Report to Funders
Many, many thanks to those who have supported us through the past year! With great appreciation to our funders, supporters and partner activist organizations, we celebrate our past year’s accomplishments and share some snapshots from our past year’s activities and previews of 2016. Our three main issue areas are Electro-magnetic Health Protection, Denuclearization and Election Protection – the latter, because you can’t have democratic choice on public policy issues if the voting is rigged.
Our work in 2015 began in January with helping to organize, along with Mothers for Peace and many other organizations, the NoNukesCA/West Coast conference to shut down California’s last nuke standing,’ Diablo Canyon. We also provided media support and video documentation for the conference.
Our work in 2015 concluded with helping to organize and document on video a West Coast speaking tour for Maggie & Arnie Gundersen, founding CEO and Chief Nuclear Engineer, respectively, of Fairewinds Energy Education (Fairewinds.org). We’re pleased and honored to be collaborating with this impactful organization and the wise and wonderful couple that run it.
MB facilitates Day 2 of the NoNukesCA conference. Jim in a promotion for EON’s new documentary SHUTDOWN. A four-way conversation during Maggie and Arnie Gundersen’s Fairewinds 2015 speaking tour of Northern California that EON co-organized with John Bertucci of Fukushima Response and Project Censored at Sonoma State University; Cynthia Papermaster and the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists; and Bing Gong, Pt. Reyes Books & Cultural Potholes Institute in Pt. Reyes. There were also Fairewinds presentations at Lori Grace’s Sunrise Center in San Rafael, as well as at CalPoly and with the Mothers for Peace in San Luis Obispo. Mary Beth and Jim’s conversation with Maggie and Arnie in Pt. Reyes is now on-line on Vimeo and YouTube as a preview of the EON video series based on Fairewinds tour forthcoming in 2016.
In this “Tell All” segment of the series, Maggie and Arnie discuss their lives as former nuclear energy insiders, the lies they were told and led to believe, and the subsequent impact of speaking truth to power as whistleblowers. Now, as consultants and educators about the risk of atomic power and its radiation leaks, Maggie and Arnie talk about their role in uncovering the operating risks at San Onofre & Diablo.
Author & eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, and EON’s Jim Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan speak in segments of the upcoming EON video series based on the 2015 Fairewinds California speaking tour.
During the year, we also worked to organize and document presentations by leading scientists Ken Buesseler and Tim Mousseau on their investigations of the oceanic and biological impacts of still on-going Fukushima contamination with co-sponsors Bing Gong, Fukushima Response, Pt. Reyes Books and Cultural Potholes Institute. MB’s presentation helped place the scientists’ research in perspective.
We continued our coverage of the dire radioactive waste issues at San Onofre documented by Donna Gilmore of SanOnofreSafety.org. Donna’s invaluable research has revealed key vulnerabilities and gaping holes in current technology for containing the lethal high level waste that will last thousands of years. Donna’s challenges, backed by hard NRC data, holds industry and government decision-makers accountable. Ms. Gilmore is educating, not only activists, but largely unaware industry insiders and government officials both in CA and nationally. Responsibly managing the millions of pounds of highly corrosive deadly long-lasting radioactive waste is crucial to our species and all other species survival, but current Southern Califonia Edison plans are to bury it in thin stainless steel canisters with a cement overpack, 100 ft. from the rising ocean and inches above the water table on the beach in San Clemente surrounded by 8 million people. The technology does not exist to determine depth of cracks in the thin canisters, nor for repairing the canisters, nor for transporting cracked canisters, if there were a safe place to move them.
Revelations of nuclear plans to spend trillions of dollars for on-going nuclear weapons development were announced by Marylia Kelly at the protest at Livermore Lab on Hiroshima’s 70th. anniversary, organized by Western States Legal Foundation and Tri-Valley CAREs. EON’s coverage of this important event was cablecast multiple times. We also note the grassroots push for independent monitoring of radioactivity levels in air, food and water led by Fukushima Response and the Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN). Kim Roberson organized FFAN members (EON, Beyond Nuclear and Citizens for Health) for a teleconference to block the TPP, which would further permit radioactivity in food with no labeling.
We have continued to document the unfolding scandal at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and followed closely the work of San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Mia Severson as they press to expose corruption and insist on justice.
In 2015 we have continued our collaboration with Dr. Devra Davis and the Environmental Health Trust documenting her and her colleagues’ work on the human health effects of electro magnetic pollution caused by wifi and cell phone technologies. Our team traveled up and down the state covering meetings of the California Coastal Commission, and grassroots conferences such as the one organized by Myla Reson and Ann Doneen of the Malibu Democratic Club.
In the process we added 54 video reports to our popular YouTube Channel, which now has more than 700 posts, over 4,200 subscribers, and millions of views. Much of this exclusive footage will be used in our documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection, which is now in post-production for release in 2016.
As the year came to a close…
Also in the works is a potential documentary co-production [funding permitting] based on our years of work with Suzanne Patzer, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of FreePress.org and the Columbus Institute of Contemporary Journalism on the history of election theft going into the lead-up to the 2016 election and what can be done to prevent it.
Our work is made possible in large part by contributions from people like you. We encourage you to consider a monthly contribution or by including EON in your 2016 giving. Thanks for whatever you can afford – we really appreciate it! EON is a 501 ( c ) 3, tax-exempt organization. Please visit our ‘something-for-every-budget’ Donate Page – https://eon3.net/donate.html
The EON Team
Mary Beth Brangan, James Heddle, Morgan Peterson
Maggie and Arnie Gundersen – respectively Founding President and Chief Nuclear Engineer of Fairewinds Energy Education – are former nuclear energy industry insiders who have become consultants and educators about the risks posed by that industry. They provide expert witness services and promote safe energy.
In this conversation with EON’s Mary Beth Brangan and Jim Heddle they talk about those risks, the impact of whistleblowing on their lives, their experience in helping to shutdown San Onofre, and their advice to the people and organizations pushing for the shutdown of Diablo Canyon, California’s ‘Last Nuke Standing.’
They encourage nuclear abolitionists not to demonize those who are mistakenly promoting nuclear energy as a solution to climate change.
This is a segment from a forthcoming EON series based on the Gundersen’s recent speaking tour in California, which included events at Sonoma State and California Polytechnic as well as talks in Pt. Reyes Station, Berkeley and San Luis Obispo (hosted by Mothers for Peace). The program at Sonoma State featured presentations by Arnie and author Majia Nadesan and a conversation between them.
EON helped to organize the tour in cooperation with John Bertucci and co-sponsors Fukushima Response and Project Censored; Bing Gong, Pt. Reyes Books and Cultural Potholes Institute; Cynthia Papermaster and the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists; Lori Grace and The Sunrise Center.
If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.
Here is the press release and actual decision handed down by the court.
This 8 year epic battle has been memorialized both in video by Mary Beth Brangan and Jim Heddle of EON and in the records of state and federal court rooms in San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Sacramento. KGO’s radio show host Joanie Greggains kept our message before the public month after month during her Weekend Health & Fitness Show.
Again, thank you all for your continued support.
On this blog edition you will find:
For Immediate Release, December 2, 2015 Sacramento
For more information:
North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA): Frank Egger (415) 456-6356
Attorney for NCRA: Stephan C. Volker (510) 496-0600
COURT OF APPEAL OVERTURNS STATEWIDE PESTICIDE PROGRAM
Today the California Court of Appeal in Sacramento overturned the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA’s) Light Brown Apple Moth (“LBAM”) pesticide program in response to a lawsuit brought by North Coast Rivers Alliance, Stop the Spray Marin, California Alliance to Stop the Spray, and environmental leaders from the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas. In its 42-page ruling, the Court of Appeal held that CDFA had violated the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) by failing to evaluate environmentally less harmful methods of controlling LBAM such as use of Integrated Pest Management (“IPM”) instead of assuming – erroneously – that only complete “eradication” of LBAM could achieve CDFA’s objective of protecting plants and crops.
The Court agreed with NCRA that CDFA had a duty under CEQA to consider alternatives that would pose less environmental damage while still achieving the LBAM program’s underlying purposes. The Court reversed an earlier ruling by a Sacramento Superior Court judge that had rejected the environmentalists’ lawsuit, and ordered the superior court to grant the relief that the plaintiffs had requested – decertification of CDFA’s EIR and invalidation of its LBAM pesticide program. Had the Court upheld CDFA’s EIR and approval, CDFA would have been allowed to continue placing and spraying toxic pesticides throughout California, including Btk, a so-called “organic” pesticide which kills not only LBAM, but all butterflies and moths, including imperiled species such as the Monarch butterfly.
The plaintiffs praised the Appellate Court’s ruling and expressed hope that CDFA would now reconsider its historic dependence on heavy pesticide use whose “collateral damage” kills fish and wildlife as well as “non-target” insects and birds. Frank Egger, President of the lead plaintiff, North Coast Rivers Alliance, stated that “after eight years of fighting CDFA to prevent its spraying of toxic pesticides on our homes, parks, rivers and forests, we are pleased that the Court of Appeal has ordered CDFA to comply with CEQA and consider less toxic alternatives that will still protect California’s plants and crops.” Mr. Egger added that “We are unaware of any documented case of damage to agricultural production from the Apple Moth. We remain concerned, however, that CDFA may once again stir up unsubstantiated fears rather than follow science and heed the public’s strong preference for safer alternatives to pesticides.”
Stephan Volker, attorney for plaintiffs, stated that “the Court’s unanimous ruling represents a complete victory for the rule of law. It shows that a vigilant public can still be heard by the courts when government and industry ignore them.” Mr. Volker added, “the need for citizens to pay attention, educate their officials, and take action in court when agencies fail to do their job could not be greater. California is experiencing an unprecedented decline in fish and wildlife due to habitat destruction and pollution, including poisoning by some of the same pesticides that CDFA intended to use in its ill-conceived LBAM ‘eradication’ program. But for the courage of the plaintiffs and the Court of Appeal’s careful review, we would be facing continued pesticide use under this unlawful program.”
Frank Egger of North Coast River Alliance & Environmental Attorney Stephen Volker led the litigation.
Hi Steve and all,
Well, this has been quite a journey. It started in 2007 in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties when their communities and residents were aerially sprayed with the pesticide, Checkmate, to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM). The claim was LBAMs were going to destroy everything in their path from farms to forests. Folks in Santa Cruz and Monterey challenged the spraying and the so called emergency declaration as a reason to bypass the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Both Santa Cruz and Monterey Superior Courts agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered the CDFA to comply and prepare an EIR. Next the CDFA set its sights on the San Francisco Bay Area for spraying Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Napa, Sonoma and Contra Costa counties.
In early 2008 I met with Santa Cruz city councilmembers Ed Porter and Tony Madrigal in order to fully understand what happened down there and in hearing the horror stories, I knew we had to stop it up in the SF Bay Area.
Here in Marin Judi Shils and I organized the first SF Bay Area LBAM community meeting that we held in Corte Madera. We had a number of speakers, including Steve Volker, and as a result we decided we would not be aerially sprayed with pesticides, ever.
We filed in Federal Court in 2008 with some success. The new PEIR was released and after much written and oral testimony that resulted in very little change, we challenged its sufficiency in State Court in Sacramento in 2010 and then it became the subject of a CDFA bait and switch action in the Superior Court courtroom in Sacramento.
Eight years later and 5 years after we first filed in State Court, we can today tell you justice has prevailed. We wanted to let you know immediately that all of your hard work for the past eight years has not been in vain and we want to say thank you for everything, your community meetings, march across the Golden Gate Bridge, picketing, contributions, continuing attendance at functions at critical times and of course the many fundraisers you helped us put on.
The old saying, “never give up” is so true and thank goodness Steve Volker and his crew stayed with us. If you have to go to court, you might as well have the best lawyers on your side.
Email me if you want a copy of the Appellate Court order.
More to come,
STEVE’S COMMENTSSTEVE’S COMMENTS
EON’S VIDEO REPORTS ON YOUTUBE
I am pleased to advise you that we have won our lawsuit against the LBAM spraying program. The Third District Court of Appeal, per Justice Harry Hull, ruled unanimously today that CDFA’s Programmatic Environmental Impact Report on the state’s Light Brown Apple Moth Eradication/Control Program violates CEQA. The Court reversed the Superior Court’s ruling against us, and directed Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly to enter judgment in our favor and to issue a writ of mandate setting aside CDFA’s certification of its unlawful PEIR and approval of this illegal program.
We won on the two most important issues. First, we persuaded the Court that CDFA had engaged in a “bait and switch” whereby it approved an EIR for an eradication program that would end in 7 years, but in fact approved instead a control program that would potentially last forever. Second, the Court agreed with us that CDFA had improperly rejected alternatives that would have less impact on the environment because they would only attempt only to control, rather than eradicate, the LBAM. These two arguments were the heart and soul of our case.
We achieved both of our objectives of invalidating the EIR and overturning CDFA’s approval of this ill-conceived pesticide program. So this is a major victory for you and for all citizens and the fish and wildlife of this state.
EON’s 62 videos on YouTube helped spread the word & documented the grassroots movement
If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.
Responsibility to Protect All Future Generations
Two New EON video posts
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As Giving Tuesday rolls around again in the midst of climate change, COP21, the ‘clash of terrorisms’ and rumors of WWIII, the EON Team is continuing to contribute what we can to help raise collective consciousness and cooperative action about our common challenges and our options for a livable future.
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These talks by Joanna Macy and Mary Beth Brangan are part of a program organized by Cynthia Papermaster at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, November 22, 2015.
They are preview excerpts from the forthcoming EON series that will highlight the work of Maggie and Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education on their November, 2015 California speaking tour.
Author, teacher and eco-philosopher Joanna Macy talks about the impact of nuclear weapons and energy technologies on our psyches, civilization and DNA, and about our obligation to manage radioactive pollution and waste responsibly on behalf of all future generations.
EON Co-Director Mary Beth Brangan on the shutdown of San Onofre, the movement to decommission Diablo, radioactive waste on-site storage risks, and the national campaign to stop transport of radwaste on our poorly-maintained roads and rail lines…through your town.
For more info: JoannaMacy.net, Fairewinds.org, MothersForPeace.org, NIRS.org and NoNukesCA.net
If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.
“We’re getting arrested, but they’re the ones committing the crime.”
That was the observation of Phyllis Olin, President of the Western States Legal Foundation, as she prepared to be arrested for protesting 70 years of nuclear bomb-making at California’s Livermore Laboratory, an epicenter of America’s on-going nuclear weapons production complex to which Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Barack Obama has pledged 1 trillion dollars over the next 30 yeears. With no apparent sense of irony, the continued, perpetual upgrading of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, capable of killing everyone and everything on the planet, is called ‘The Life-Extension Program.’
Chizu Hamada, of No Nukes Action, poetically and poignantly describes the connection between nuclear weapons and nuclear power through the story of Japan. [Read her passionate statement below] She concludes “What can we do? We must keep on protesting. We must never give up. Because the spirits of Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims are here now, and are wishing the abolition of nuclear weapons.”
Watch for our video report – 70 Years of Nuclear Weapons: At what cost? on cable listings below….
Daniel Ellsberg, Country Joe McDonald, Marylia Kelley, Chizu Hamada, Takashi Tanemori, Wilson Riles, Jr., Patricia St. Onge, Jackie Cabasso, and 300 friends join on the 70th. anniversary of the horrific bombing of Hiroshima at the annual Nonviolent Direct Action Day at Livermore Lab, CA’s Bomb Factory, August 6, 2015.
70 Years of Nuclear Weapons: At what cost?
This video report will air on Channel 26 on Comcast and Channel 99 on AT&T, as well as live stream at: https://cmcm.tv/livecommunity on these dates:
+ Sun 11/1/2015 8:00:00 pm Channel 26
+ Thu 11/5/2015 7:30:00 pm Channel 26
+ Wed 11/11/2015 7:30:00 pm Channel 26
It is also airing now on PCA Channel 26 & U-Verse channel 99:
Schedules are repeated in weekly rotation – Mon/Thurs, Tues/Fri, Wed/Sat, Sunday
3:30 pm (right before Democracy Now !
Talk by Chizu Hamada, NoNukesAction
We Must Never Give Up Working for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
Ohayougozaiasu. Good Morning,
I was born in Japan, and I grew up in a post-war climate that has shaped the way I view the world.
A couple month ago, I had a chance to speak about Japanese militarism. During that talk, I mentioned that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes. When the Q & A session came, a member of the audience expressed her opinion that Japan didn’t apologize to the USA, so why should the USA have to apologize to Japan. All opinions are valid, but I wondered if this woman really knew how horrible the effects of atomic bombs are. I wondered if she ever had a chance to know the facts of aftermaths of atomic bombings.
Two atomic bombs massacred over 150,000 people instantly. The total of 200,000 people were died in that year. Over 600.000 people have died up to this day due to those bombs. Most of these death were innocent civilians. When people were not instantly killed, they suffered greatly with burns, disfiguration, keloids, and finally took their last breath. Even now after 70 years later aftereffects remain, such as leukemia, A- bomb cataracts, cancers, birth defects, mental retardation. And the fear of birth defects in children will last many generations.
In 2014, Asahi newspaper in Japan researched 58 American major text books for Junior High and High school published from 1949 to 2010. 40 books didn’t even mention about death toll in Nagasaki. Of the books mentioning the number of deaths, more than half reported only half of numbers that Japan provided to United Nations. And only 5 books mentioned that radiation effects last for many years.
For all of us, it is very important to let people know how Atomic bombs are horrible, and inhumane. Atomic bombs should never be built, for they will ruin human kind, animals and the entire Earth.
So Japan has experienced horrible Atomic bombs twice. Did Japan learn from Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Sadly, the answer is NO. When US wanted to sell nuclear power plants as “Atoms for peace”, Japan foolishly bought them. Of course, many Japanese people were very sensitive and afraid of nuclear power plants at that time. But Matutaro Shoriki who was called the “Father of Nuclear Energy” created a big newspaper company and he started to brain wash people by mass media that nuclear energy is cheap, safe and efficient . And the government and he succeeded . Altogether 54 nuclear power plants were built on tiny earthquake-prone islands.
Four and a half years ago when Fukushima Daiichi melted down, we have awakened wild. A report by the congress research concluded this was a man- made accident, an accident that would have been prevented if they had prepared for it, but they didn’t because there has been deep collusion between industry, the Nuclear regulators and the Japanese government.
The Japanese government has been lying to not only to the Japanese but also to the people of the world. As you know , when PM Abe invited the 2020 Olympics to Tokyo, he said “The Fukushima accident is under control.” And this is a lie. It has such a high level of radiation, that humans can’t get close to the core of the reactor, so we don’t know what exactly happened. We don’t know where the melted core is – inside the vessel or outside. Even several robots they sent in, have broken down.
Radiation is seeping out everyday into the air and into the Pacific Ocean. There are more than 100 children diagnosed the thyroid cancers. The evacuees are forced back to live in the contaminated areas. The tragedy has continued and the the daunting task has just began.
When people needed to seek the truth to save the victims and to protest the government’s policies, the government created the Secrecy Law, which was passed in December 2013. This Secrecy Law is so vague that bureaucrats and politicians can designate state secrets to their liking. People seeking state secrets or disclosing state secrets can be punished with up to 5 years in prison.
Then came the reinterpretation of our pacifist constitution. This bill have already approved in the lower Parliament and will pass the upper Parliament in this summer. The law allow our self defence force go out and join the US war. Japan seems as if wants to be prosperous by the war. So Henoko base has been pushed to be built, and Okinawa people’s sufferings never end.
The law has been created and changed to go forward the Japanese militarism. Japan can export war weapons now. Japan can send our military outside to kill people. Now Japan needs the nuclear weapons. Japan has 48 tons of plutonium. These can be created into 6000 nuclear weapons. Japan has been keeping the nuclear power plants for the potential of creating nuclear weapons and to make the threat to the neighboring countries.
That is the reason the Japanese government has never quit nuclear power plants. Even after the Fukushima disaster, they have pushed very hard to restart the next plant. So the Sendai nuclear power plant will restart anytime this month even though it is located near a huge active volcano. And the next and next nuclear power plants are lined up for restarting.
What can we do. We must keep on protesting. We must never give up. Because the spirits of Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims are here now, and are wishing the abolition of nuclear weapons.
For more on new nuclear weapons development see:
Obama pledged to reduce nuclear arsenal, then came this weapon
To see what a nuclear bomb in your neighborhood would do see this interactive map site https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ by Alex Wellerstein at the Stevens Institute of Technology.
Here’s a PDF of NukeWatch New Mexico’s Nuclear Budget analysis